Imágenes de páginas
PDF

TALES OF A WAYSIDE INN.

[graphic]

PRELUDE.

THE WAYSIDE INN.
One Antuum night, in Sndbury town.
Across the meadows bare and brown,
The windows of the way-side iun
Gleamed red with flre-Ilght throngh the leaves
Of woodbine, hanging from the eaves
Their crimson curtaius rent and thin

As ancient is this hosteiry
As any in the land may be,
Built in the old Colonial day.
When men lived in a grander way,
With ampler hospitality;
A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,
Now somewhat fallen to decay,
With weather-straius upon the wall,
And stairways worn, and crazy doors,
And creeking and uneven floors,
And chiumey, huge, and tiled and talL

A region of repose it seems

A place of slumber and of dreams,

It emote among the wooded hills!

For there no noisy railway speeds

Its toreh-race scattering smoke and gleeds;

Bnt noon and night, the panting teams

Stop under the great oaks, that throw

Tangles of light and shape below.

On roofs and doors, and window-sills.

Across the road the barns display

Their lines of stalls, their mows of hay.

Throngh the wide doors the breezes blow,

The wattled cocks strnt to and fro,

And half effaced by rain and shine,

The Red Horse prances on the sigu.

Round this old-fashioned, quaint abode

Deep silence reigued, save when a gust

Went rushing down the conntry road,

And skeletous of leaves, and dust,

A moment quickened by its breath,

Shnddered and danced their dance of death.

And throngh the ancient oaks o'erhead

Mysterions voices moaned and fled.

Bnt from the parlonr of the iun

A pleasant rumonr smote the car,

Like water rushing throngh a weir;

Oft interrupted by the din

Of laughter and of lond applause,

And in each intervening pause

The umsic of a violin

The tire-light shedding over all

The splendonr of its rnddy glow,

Filled the low parlonr large and low;

It gleamed on waiuscot and on wall,

It tonched with more than wonted grace,

Fair Princess Mary's pietured face; .'•"•'

It bronzed the rafters overhead,

On the old spinet's ivory keys

It played inandible melodies,

It crowned the sombre clock with Flame,

The hands, the honrs, the maker's name.

And painted with a livelier red
The Landlord's coat-of-arms again;
And, flashing on the window-pane.
Emblazoned with the light and shade
The jovial-rhymes that still remain,
Writ near a century ago,
By the great Major Molineaux,
Whom Hawthorne has immortal made.

Before the blazing fire pf wood

Ereet the rapt umsician stood;

And ever and anon he bent

His head upon his iustrument.

And seemed to listen, till he caught

Confessious of its secret thonght—

The joy, the trinmph, the lament,

The exultation and the pain;

Then, by the magic of his art.

He soothed the throbbings of his heart,

And lulled it into peace again.

Aronnd the fireside at their ease

There sat a gronp of friends entranced

With the delicious melodies \

Who from the far-off noisy town

Had to the way-side iun come down,

To rest beneath its old oak-trees;

The fire-light on their faces glanced.

Their shadows on the waiuscot danced,

And, thongh of different land and speech,

Each had his tale to tell, and each

Was anxions to be pleased and please.

And white the sweet umsician plays,

Let me in ontline sketch them all,

Perehance unconthiy as the blaze

With its uncertain tonch ponrtrays

Their shadowy semblance on the wall.

Bnt first the Landlord will I trace;

Grave in his aspeet and attire;

A man of ancient pedigree,

A justice of the peace was he.

Known in all Sndbury as "The Squire."

Prond was he ef his name and race.

Of old Sir William and Sir Hugh,

And in the parlonr, full in view,

His coat-of-arms well framed and glazed,

Upon the walls in colonrs blazed;

He beareth gules upon his shield,

A chevron argent in the field.

With three wolves' heads, and for the crest

A Wyvern part-per-pale, addressed

Upon a heimet barred; below

The scroll reads, "By the name of Howe."

And over this no longer bright

Thongh glimmering with a latent light.

Was hung the sword his grandsire bore,

In the rebellions day of yore,

Down there at Concord In the fight.

A yonth was there of quiet ways,

A Stndent of old books and days.

To whom all tongnes and lands were known,

And yet a lover of his own;

With many a social virtne graced,

[graphic]

And yet a friend of solitnde;
A man of snch a genial mood
The heart of all things he embraced,
And yet of snch fastidions taste,
lie never fonnd the best too good.
Books were his passion and delight,
And in his upper room at home
Stood many a rare and sumptuons tome
In vellum bonnd, with gold bedight,
Great volumes garmented in white,
Recalling Florence, Pisa, Rome.
He loved the twilight that surronnds
The border-land of old romance;
Where glittered hauberk, heim, and lance,
And bauner waves, and trumpet sounds,
And ladies ride with hawk on wrist,
And mighty warriors sweep along,
Maguified by the purple mist,
The dusk of centuries and of song,
The chronicles of Charlemague,
Of Merlin and of Mort d'Arthure,
Maguified together in his brain
With tales of Flores and Blunchefteur,
Sir Fer umbras, Sir Eglamonr,
Sir Launcelot, Sir Moigadour,
Sir Guy, Sir Bevls, Sir Gawain,
A yonng Sicilian, too. was there;
In sight of Etna born ami bred,
Some breath of his volcanic air
Was glowing in his In nit ami brain,
And, being rebellious to his liege,
After Palermo's fatal siege,
In good King Bomba's happy reigu.
His face was liko a summer's night.
All flooded with a dosky light;
His hands were small; his teeth shone white
Ias sea-shells when he smiled or spoke;
His sinews supple and strong as oak;
Clean shaven was ho as a priest.
Who at the mass on Sunday sm.gs
Save that upon his upper lip
His beard, a good paim's length at least
Level and pointed at the tip.
Shot sideways, like a swallow's wings.
The poets rend lie o'er and o'er.
And most of all the Immortal Fonr
Of Italy ; and next to those,
The story-tolling bard of prose,
Who wrote the joyons Tuscan tales
Gf the I)ecumcron, that makes
Flesole's green hills and vuies
Remembered for Boecaecio's sake.
Mnch too of umsic was his thonght; )

The melodies and measures fraught

With suushine and the open air,'
Of vineyards and the singing sea
Of his beloved Sicily: i

And mnch it pleased him to peruao .,'

The songs of the Sicilian umse,—
Bncolic songs of Moll sung.
In the familiar peasant tongne.
That made men say, "Behold! once more
The pitying gods to earth rust ore
Theocritus of Syracuse!"

A Spanish Jew from Alicant

With aspeet, grand and grave was there;

Vender of silks and fabries rare.

And attar of rose from the Scvant.

Like an old Patriareh he appeared, '"•' .

Abraham or Isaae, or at le;ist

Some later Prophet or High-Priest; .

With lustrons eyes and olive-skin, .

And, wildly tossed from cheeks and chin,

The tumbling cataraet of his beard.

His garments breathed a spiey scent,

Of ciunamon and sandal blent, il

Like the soft aromatic gales

That meet the mariner, who sails

Throngh the Molnccas, and the seas ).;

That wash the shores of Celebes. • .

Alistorio's that recorded are

By Pierre Alphouse he knew by heart,

[graphic]

The maker from whoso hands it came llnd written his uarivalled mune,—

"Anton,us Stradivarins."

And when he played, the atmosphere
Was tilled with magic, and the ear
Caught echoes of that Harp of Gold
Whose umsic had so weird a sonnd.
The hunted stag forgot to honnd.
1Js leaning rivulet backward rolled,
r o birds came down from bush and tree.
The dead came from beneath the sea,'
Tito maiden to the harper's knee

The music ceased ; the applause was lond
Tht |±afi umsician smiled and 1 owed'
Ths w.0s0,d"nre cli'PI'«l its hands of flame
The shadows on the waiuscot stirred
And from the harpsichord there came
A ghost)., murmur of aeclaim.
A sonnd like that sent down nt night
lly birds of passage in their flight.
From the remotest distance heard,
lhen silence followed: then began
A clamonr for the Landlords tule,—
The story promised them of old,
ll«ysaid bnt always left untold;
Ad he, althongh a bashful,nan.'
v, ,i , !"s co,lraKe seemed to fail,
| "ding excuse of no avail,
Yielded ; and thus the story ran.

THE LANm.oWV.S TALE.
PALX REVIiliE'S 1UUE.

I.i.STKv, my children, and yon shall hear
O the midmght ride ol Paul Itcvere
On Hie eighteenth of April, in Seven y-flve •
Hardly a man is now alive J'c'

W ho remembers tliat famons day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British mareh
By land or sea from the town to-night

J,"!,8 \ anfuCI^, aloft "i "ie helfrv areh'
Of the North Chureh tower as a signal light —
One if by land, and two, if t,v sea • llt,",'-
Aud I on the opposite shore Will bo,
Beady to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm .
For the country-folk to he up and to arm '•

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Then he s.iid, "Good night! oar

iii,1f("!ly,Lmvca ,0 th0 L'jwrlestown shore

Just as the moon rose over fhe hay

Where swinging wide at her moorings lay

The Somerset, British man-of-war

A phantom ship, with each mast and spar

Across tlie moon like a prison bar.

And a huge black hulk, that was maguified

By its own reflection in the tide. ""'s""""u

Meanwhile, his friend, throngh alley and street
Wanders and watches with eager eira
, ill in the silence aronnd him he hears
, he umster of men at the barrack -door
lie sonnd of arms, and the tramp of feet
And the measured tread of the grenadiers
Marehing down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the chureh
Up the wooden stairs with stealth tread
I ,HllC, be. 'T-ehamber overhead,'

And startled the pigeous from their pereh
On the sombre rafters, that ronnd him made
Massas and moving shapes of ' a li" —""""
Lp the trembling ladders, ti.en and tall
Wh.TM i,'ghcSt wl"dow in i lie wall,'

« here he paused to listen and look down
s7»TM'TM OW roof, „f „K, toTM."0""
And the mooulight flowing over all.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Under the trees at the turn of the road,
Aml ouly pausing to fire and load.

So throngh the night rode Paul Revcre; .

And on throngh the night went his cry of alarm

To every Middlesex village and farm,

A cry of defiance and not of fear,

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,

And a word that shall echo for evermore!'

For, horne on the night-wind of the Past,

Throngh all onr history, to the last.

In the honr of darkness and peril and need.

The people will waken and listen to hear

The hurrying hoof-heats of that steed.

And the miduight message of Paul Revere.

[blocks in formation]

On a rnde bench beneath his cottage caves,

Ser Federigo sat among the leaves

Of a huge vine, that with its arms ontspread,

Hung its delirious clusters overhead.

Below him, throngh the lovely valley, flowed

The river Arno, like a winding rffnd,

And from its banks were lifted high in air

The spires and roofs of Florence called the Fair;

To hhn a marble tomh, that rose above

Hls wasted fortunes and his buricij.love.

For there in banqnet and in tournnracnt,

His wealth had lavished been, Iiis substance

spent,
To woo and lose, since ill his wooing sped,
Mouna Giovauna, who his rival wed.
Yet ever in his faney reigued supreme.
The ideal woman of a yonng man's dream.

Then he withdrew, in povertyand pain.

To this small farm, the last of his domain.

Hls ouly comfort and his ouly care

To prune his vines, and plant the fig and pear;

His ouly forester and ouly gnest

Hls falcon faithful to him'when the rest.

Whose willing hand had fonnd so light of yore

The brazen knocker of his palace door.

Had now no strength to lift the wooden latch,

That entrance gave beneath a roof of thatcli.

Companion of his solitary ways.

Purveyor of his feasts on holidays,

On him this melancholy man bestowed

The love with which his nature overllowed.

And so the empty-handed years went ronnd.
Vacant, thongh voieeful with prophetic sonnd,
And so, that summer morn, he sat and umsed
With folded patient hands, as he was used,
And dreamily before his half-closed sight
Floated the vision of his lost delight.
Beside him, motiouless, the drowsy bird
Dreamed of the chase, and in his slumber heard
The sndden, seythe-Iike sweep of wings, that

dare The headlong plunge thro' eddying gulfs of air, Then, starting broad awake upon his perch. Tinkled his neils, like mass-bens fn a chureh, And. looking at his master seemed to say, "Ser Federigo, shall we hunt to-day?"

Ser Federigo thonght not of the chase I

The tender vision of her lovely face,

1 will not say he seems to see, he sees

In the leaf-showers of trellises.

Herself, yet not herself ; a lovely child

With fiowing tresses, and eyes wide and wild,

Coming undaunted up the garden walk.

And looking not at him bnt at the hawk.

"Beantiful falcon!" said he, "wonld that I

Might hold thee on my wrist, or see thee iiy!"

The voice was hers, and made strange echoes

start.
Throngh all the haunted chamber of his heart,
As an ajolinn harp throngh gusty doors
Of some old ruin its wild music ponrs.

"Who is thy mother, my fair bov T" he said,
His hand hud softly on that shimng head.
"Mouna Oiovauna.—Will yon let me stay
A littlo while, and with yonr falcon play?
We live there, just beyond yonr garden"wa I.
In the great honse behind the poplars tall."

So he spake on; and Federgo heard
As from afar each softly nttered word,
And drifted onward throngh the golden gleams
And shadows of the misty sea of dreams.
As mariners becaimed throngh vaponrs drift,
And feel the sea beneath them sink and lift.
And hear far off the monrnful breakers roar
And voices calling faintly from the shore I
Then, waking from his pleasant reveries,
He took the little boy upon his knees.
And told him stories of this gallant bird.
I Till in their friendship he became a third.

[graphic]
[graphic]

Mouna Giovauna, widowed in her prime.

Had come with friends to pass the summer time

In her grand villa, hulf-wny up the hill,

Overlooking Florence, bnt retired and still;

With iron sates, Hint opened throngh long lines

Of sacred ilex and centeunial pines,

And terraced gardeus, and broad steps of stone,

And sylvan deities, with moss o'crgrown,

And fonntaius palpitating in the heat,

And all Val d'Arno stretched beneath its feet.

Here in seclusion, as a widow may.
The lovely lady wliiled the honrs away,
Pacing in sable robes the statned ball.
Herself the stateliest statne among all.
And seeing more and m;re, while secret joy.
Her husband risen and living in her boy,
Till the lost seuse of life return again.
Not as delight, bnt as relief from pain.
Meanwhile the boy, rejoicing in his strength,
Stormed down the terraces trom length to

length;
The creaming peacock chased in hot pursuit,
And climbed the garden trellises for fruit
Bnt his chief pastime was to watch the flight
Of a ger-falcon, soaring into sight.
Beyond the trees that fringed the garden wall,
Then downward stooping at some distant call;
And as he gazed full often wondered ho .'.
Who might the master of the falcon be.
Until the happy morning, when lie fonnd
Master and falcon in the cottage gronnd.
And now a shadow and a terror fell
On the great honse, as is a passing-bell
Tolled from the tower, and lilied each spacions

room With secret awe and preternatural gloom. The petted boy Brew ill, and day by day Pined with mysterions malady away. The motheris heart wonld not be comforted; 1 ler darling seemed to her aiready dead. And often, sitting by the sufferer s side, "What can I do to comfort thee Y' she cried. At first "the silent lips made no reply,' l itit moved at length by her importunate cry, ( "Give me," he auswered, with imploring tone, "Ser Federigo's fulcon for my own V

No auswer conld the astonished mother make;
How conld she ask, e'en for her daughter's sake*
Snch favonr at a lnckless lovcrVnund, .: -' ' •
Well knowing that to ask was to coimnandr . .,
Well knowing, what all falconers confessed,
In all the land that falcon was the best.
The master's pride and passion and delight.
And the sole pursmvant of this poor knight,
Bnt vet, for her child's sake, she conld no less
Than give assent to soothe his restlessuess,
So promised, and then promising to keep
Her promise sacred, saw him fall asleep.

The morrow was a bright September morn;
The earth was beantiful as if new-born;
There was that nameless splendour every-
where.
That wild exhilaration in the air,
Which makes the passers in city street
Congratulate each other as they meet.
Two lovely ladies, clothed in cloak and hood,
1'assed throngh the garden gate into the w'ood.
Under the lustrons leaves, and throngh the

sheen
Of dewy suushine showering down between.
The one, close-hooded, had the attraetive grace
Which sorrow sometimes lends a woman's face;
Her dark eyes moistened with the mist that roll
FYom the gulf-stream of passion in the sonl;
The other with her hood thrown back, her hair
Making a golden glory in the air,
Her checks suffused with an auroral blush,
Her yonng heart singing londer than the thrush.
So walked, that morn, throngh mingled light

and shade, Each by the other's presence lovelier made.

Mouna Giovanna and her bosom friend,
Intent upon their errand and its end.

They fonnd Ser Federigo at his toil.

Like banished Adam, delving in the soil;

And when he looked and these fair women

spied.
The garden suddeuly was glorified;
His long-lost Eden was restored again,
And the strange river winding throngh the

plain.
No longer was the Arno to his eyes.
Bnt the Euphrates watering Paradise I

Mouna Giovauna raised her stately head,
And with fair words of salntation said:
.' Ser Federigo. we come here as friends
Hoping in this to make some poor amends
For past unkinduess. I who ne'er before
Wonld even cross the threshold of yonr door,
1 who in happier days snch pride maintained.
Refused yonr banqnets, and yonr gifts dis-
dained,
This morning come, a self-invited gnest.
To pnt yonr generons nature to the test,
And breakfast with von under fonr own vino."
To which he aoswered; "Pour desert of mim',
Not yonr unkinduess call it, for if aught
Is good in me of feeling or of thought,
From yon it comes, and this last grace ont-
weighs,
All sorrows, all regrets of other a iys.

And after further compliment and talk, —

Among the dahiias in the garden walk

He left his gnests; and to the cottage turned,

And as he entered for a moment yearned ,•

For the lost splendonrs of the days of old,

The rnddv glass, the silver and the gold,

And felt now piercing is the sting of pride,

By wantembittered and inteusified. , , --»jth

He looked abont lilin for some meaus or way ^J

To keep this unexpeeted holiday;

Searehed every cupboard, and then searehed

again. Summoned the maid, who came, bnt came in

vain; "The Siguor did not hunt to-day," she said. There's nothing in the house bnt wine and

bread."

Then snddeuly the drowsy falcon shook

His lime bells, with that sagacions look.

Which said, as plain as language to the ear,

"If anything is wanting. 1 am here!"

Yes, everything is wanting, gallant bird

The master seized thee withont further word.

Like thine own lure, he whirled thee ronnd; ah,

me!
The pomp and flntter of brave falcoury,
The bells, the jesses, and bright scarlet hood.
The flight and the pursuit o'er field and wood,
All these for evermore are ended now;
No longer vietor, bnt the vietim thoit!

Then on the board a suow-white cloth he

spread.
Laid on its wooden dish the loaf of bread,
Bronght purple grapes with antuum suushine

hot.
The fragrant pereh, the juiey bergamot;
Then in the midst a flask of wine he placed,
And with antuumal flowers the banqnet graced.
Ser Federigo, wonld not these suffice
Withont thy falcon stuffed with cloves and

spice?
When all was ready, and the conrtly daine
With her companious to the cottage came,
Upon Ser Federigo's brain there fell
The wild enchantment of a magic spell;
The room they entered, mean and low and

small,
Was changed into a sumptuons banqnet-hall,
With fanfares by aerial trumpets blown;
The rustic chair she sat on was a throne |

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »